CHICAGO (STMW) — One of three teenagers who were trying to steal metal rods at an Alsip construction business died early Wednesday when 34,000-pound concrete and brick panels fell and pinned him.
The boy was identified as Dallas Harden, 16, of the 4300 block of West Park Lane in Alsip, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Two 15-year-olds who were with Harden were charged with criminal trespass and released to their parents, police said.
The accident happened at The Lombard Co., 4245 W. 123rd St. The panels that pinned the teen were precast concrete clad with brick, according to the company.
Authorities found Harden pinned and not breathing about 2:35 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
When Chris Wright, a friend of Harden, heard later Wednesday morning that Harden had died, he was so shocked that he ran shirtless and in his socks for several blocks to the apartment where Harden lived.
“It’s all over Facebook that Dallas got killed last night,” Wright, 16, of Alsip, said.
Wright wanted to talk to Harden’s mother, who was not at the apartment when he arrived about noon. She could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Wright said he and Harden had been friends for about four years.
“Every time, being with him was an adventure,” he said. “We always had fun. There hasn’t been one moment that we didn’t have fun.”
Harden enjoyed rap music and was pretty good at rapping, Wright said.
“Dallas was a really good guy. I just don’t understand how this happened. It’s horrible,” he said.
A woman who said she was the aunt of one of the 15-year-olds, the boy who called 911, said her nephew told her that the boys were looking for scrap to “make money from it.”
“One of the pipes came loose, and another pipe, Dallas was trying to kick it, and when he did, the wall came down on him. They tried to get the wall off them, but the wall kept coming down,” she said.
Her nephew had minor injuries to his ribs, she said.
“Why put your life in danger like that? Is it an adrenaline rush to know that you all can get caught?” she asked.
Alsip police Lt. Jay Miller said there’s no fence around the yard, only “No trespassing” signs.
“They probably figure it’s pretty hard to steal things that heavy,” Miller said of the company.
The steel rods were “instrumental” in keeping the construction walls in place, and when Harden removed one or more of them, the walls fell, police said.
The Lombard Co. was established in 1956 and is involved in the construction of industrial, medical, educational, commercial and municipal projects, according to its website. In a statement, the company said it is cooperating with the police investigation into the incident and was extending condolences to Harden’s family.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)